2016 12-03 SB Channel
It was a fantastic day for marine mammal watching in the Santa Barbara Channel. Total sightings included 9 humpback whales, 300 California sea lions, and at least 150 long-beaked common dolphins. Kelping behavior by 2 humpbacks was the big show today.
Captain Dave and his crew headed south out of Santa Barbara and encountered the first 2 humpback whales just south of The Lanes and east of The Cave. This was another magical encounter with 2 full-grown adult whales playing in the kelp. What started out as one fairly large aggregation of free-drifting giant kelp was soon transformed into dozens of smaller shreds by what our deck hand Tasha calls the “kelp assassins.” Behaviors such as tail throwing, spy hopping and pectoral fin slapping is always part of the interaction between humpback whales and kelp. When you first see this interaction for yourself it is hard to believe your own eyes.
After a long period of shredding the veggies, the two whales appeared to be tired and entered a phase of logging on the surface.
Closer to Santa Cruz Island 4 more humpback whales were seen a little bit away from the boat. These had long down times and soon went their separate ways. We continued on toward the northern shore of the Island. Not far from The Cave a mega-mob of around 300 or so sea lions was observed and during this sighting a pod of about 150 dolphins passed through.
Captain Dave did his famous tour of the dramatic sea cliffs, arches, stacks and, with good conditions today, took the Condor into the mouth of the Painted Cave. Outside the Cave and on a homeward course heading, a group of 3 more humpback whales were located and watched.
NOTICE: Due to the annual US Coast Guard certification process we will be removing all life rafts for a tune-up and inspection. Thus we will not run another whale watch until Friday, December 9, 2016.
You never know what Mother Nature has in store. Bob Perry Condor Express